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The Crisis Intelligence Blog

Google Helps Locate Missing People in the Wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan

12 Nov

googles-Super-Typhoon-Haiyan-resourceSuper Typhoon Haiyan has, without a doubt, devastated the Philippines. With a death-toll of over 10,000,  the city of Tacloban is in ruins. I’ve been watching the impact of Twitter throughout this crisis, along with the impact of amazing organizations, such as the Red Cross, that have stepped in to provide useful resources, help and support to victims and the public.

There is, however, one large organization that has put together a resourceful tool that I have found to be particularly interesting. Why? Because it’s the first time I’ve seen this mega brand do something like this in this type of emergency situation. Which brand am I talking about? Google.

Google’s Crisis Response Resource

Google has provided the public with a resource to help find missing people in the midst of this devastating storm that has left nearly a million people lost or displaced.

Within this resource, Google has included links for the public to easily make a donation to one of three emergency response and relief organizations, they’ve provided a news feed, a relief map (shown above) and a missing persons tool. This missing persons tool has two options: to input information about a missing person that you may have news or information about, and a field to enter in the name (or partial name) of a missing individual that you are looking to locate.

The missing persons tool is mobile friendly, and the relief map is easily embedded on any website.

With the launch of Twitter’s new Emergency Alert System last month, and now Google using their power to provide victims and their families with a useful tool to potentially locate missing loved ones, it’s so great to see these large organizations doing what they can (which is a lot) to help their communities and users in the wake of crisis and emergency situations.

Have you had the opportunity to use this new Google crisis response resource – or do you know someone who has? If so, what was the outcome? Share your experiences with us below.

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2 Responses to “Google Helps Locate Missing People in the Wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan”

  1. KC Saling November 12, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Nice to see Google using their massive data engine to do something good! How much are they integrating GPS data from phones into this service?

    • Melissa Agnes November 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      The phone / mobile functions are actually quite good! However, I'm not exactly sure how much GPS is incorporated into the finding missing persons feature. I've tested it out from my phone and it seems that it's more about receiving information that someone is alive and where they may be, then it is about providing you with a road map to reuniting with them… but I'm also testing it from Montreal, not from within the devastated area.

      Their relief map functions are integrated with GPS though…

      All in all, I think Google has done a good job on this one.

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